The Brewers’ Jean Segura doesn’t look like a classic shortstop — he’s 5 feet 10 and 165 pounds, with a thick lower half. So, when trying to determine a “comp,” something baseball people love to do, Brewers director of pro scouting Zack Minasian went off the board entirely.
Minasian mentioned a player that Brewers general manager Doug Melvin once acquired for the Texas Rangers, but one who bears absolutely no physical resemblance to Segura.
Are you sitting down?
Segura, Melvin said, is similar to Young because of his energy, his instincts, even his relatively low profile when he was a prospect in the Angels organization. Young, too, was mostly unknown early in his career with the Blue Jays.
Young exceeded expectations, and now it appears that Segura — the centerpiece of the Brewers’ three-player haul for right-hander Zack Greinke last July — might do the same.
Segura, 23, skipped Triple A after the Brewers promoted him on Aug. 6, opened the current season as the team’s starting shortstop and concluded April with a .367 batting average, second only to the Braves’ Chris Johnson in the National League.
Critics will point to Seguara’s low walk rate and .400 batting average on balls in play as evidence that his April surge is unsustainable. Fair enough, and no one expects Segura finish with a .567 slugging mark or .985 OPS, either.
But to a degree, such talk misses the point.
Segura is an infectious sort who finds different ways to help the Brewers win. He has three doubles, three triples and three homers. He’s 7 for 8 in stolen-base attempts. And though some with the Angels thought he would be better at second, he’s an above-average defender at short with quick hands and quick feet.
Melvin was still talking Wednesday about a play that Segura made the previous night when the Brewers went to an infield shift against the Pirates’ left-handed hitting Pedro Alvarez with one out and a runner on first base.
Second baseman Rickie Weeks shaded toward the first-base hole, and Segura set up barely on the shortstop side of second and deep, touching the outfield grass.
Melvin, sitting in his box at Miller Park, recalled looking at the configuration and saying out loud, “There’s no way we’re getting a double play.”
Or so the GM thought.
Alvarez hit the ball to Segura, who raced to touch second, then threw to first to get Alvarez and end the inning.
“He’s like a quarterback who can hit receivers while on the run,” Melvin said. “He doesn’t have to stop and get set. He can be moving right, moving left, moving in and still get the throw off and be accurate.”
He may look more like Ron Belliard than Michael Young, but never mind appearances. Segura is proving to be quite an original, a player without any comps.
— Ken Rosenthal